Today, the conference report on House Bill 228 was passed by the Montana House and Senate. The House approved the measure 85-14 and the Senate 40-10. The bill is now en route to Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) for his consideration.
HB228, authored by State Representative Krayton Kerns (R-58), is common sense legislation that provides a number of specific protections for law-abiding citizens.
For those who have been following this issue and have not yet heard, the restriction on concealed carry in health care facilities was removed from the final bill.
As passed, HB228 would do the following:
1.) Clarify the ability of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm openly and to draw or present the weapon for defensive purposes;
2.) Clarify in statute the existing legal precedent that there is no duty to retreat from a threat before using justifiable force, and allow a law-abiding citizen to use reasonable force in exercising the existing law that gives a private person the authority to arrest an offender;
3.) Expand the existing law allowing the use of force in defense of an occupied structure;
4.) Shift to the state, if evidence of justifiable use of force is raised by a defendant in a criminal case, the burden of proving an absence of justification;
5.) Prevent landlords and hotel operators from restricting law-abiding citizens’ self-defense rights;
6.) Ensure that self-defense claims are adequately considered during incident investigations;
7.) Prevent the destruction of firearms by law enforcement agencies and require they be sold to a licensed dealer; and,
8.) Allow the issuance of concealed weapon permit to those whose rights have been restored.
HB228 is a significant advancement for law-abiding firearm owners in